tarahumara people

The Tarahumara People Can Run for 400 Miles Non-Stop

By Anupum Pant

The marathon is one of the most popular long-distance running events and is followed by people from around the world. An athlete, to even finish the ~42 km race, has to go through a training that lasts several months (or years).The training is designed to develop the slow twitch muscle fibers which enables athletes to run for a long distances without getting tired. But, lacking access to all the hi-tech training equipment, there are people who can run fifteen times that in one session.

Tarahumara people or ‘Running people’ are a group of Native American people living in the north-western Mexico who can run 400+ miles in around 50 hours! Sounds impossible, but it is true. Astonishingly, the entire tribe consisting of men, women, old and young, every one of them is capable of running at least 250+ miles in a single run, without shoes. Such extreme feat of endurance has never been seen among humans anywhere else in the world.

They are the kind of people who run to live. They have running events lasting more than 200 miles regularly. They run to send messages and they run for food; Like Michael Stevens from Vsauce says, as hunters humans who can run persistently, can outrun even horses.

In fact, I thought about writing this after I watched a very interesting video on Vsauce and was feeling uneasy that Michael had missed the Tarahumara people. – [Video]

Where do they get the energy? – Unlike athletes who last on energy gained from Gatorade (or other drinks), these people run on copious amounts of a beverage made from corn, to keep up with the amount of calories they burn in a single event – around 43,000 calories. A great workout indeed!

One thing that has confused me: If they can run 400 miles with ease, why don’t they take part in the marathon events? I’m guessing that they run for long but don’t run as fast as a marathon runner. If you know why, tell me in the comments section below.

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17 thoughts on “The Tarahumara People Can Run for 400 Miles Non-Stop”

  1. Associated fact (to be confirmed here on this website) -women can outrun men over longer distances -time-wise.

    1. I’m not sure about that.

      Story says that a USA marathon was being held and someone involved in the race or city where the race was, asked if the Tarahumara people could send a few to race.

      There were a few women sent (not sure the exact amount). The USA person involved with the race thanked the Tarahumara Indian Head but asked why he only sent women

      Do you know what he said (or so I’ve been told)
      Something like:
      “A marathon is not long enough to send our men to race in. I’m just a warm-up for them”

      I doubt the women can outrage the men.

  2. I am half Tarahumara. The secret is not just the corn beer, but running barefooted from birth. There is a water fall in northern Chihuahua called Basaseachic. This is one of the ultimate running grounds for the tribe.

    1. Awesome,
      Barefoot, check out earthing/grounding, increases oxygen uptake a GREAT deal, which in turn allows one to go up to 16 times further on one glucose molecule.
      Shoes and bad breathing along with to fast a pace for ones fitness level,,results in complete glycogen depletion after 42-84 km, but
      Going barefoot, on earth surface, not tar roads, along with some Wim Hoff, style breathing, and easy or correct pace, results in glycogen depletion only after about 16x42km =672km
      That being said, all the right earthing barefoot running at the right pace and breathing correctly, won’t mean anything the moment you insist on eating or consuming calories while running…aid stations are for people who want to stop, hahaha

    2. Hello Ignacio. I also have Tarahumara in me. When I was young and would run it was a feeling of lightness, almost floating. Not to outrun anyone, just a soothing, euphoric feeling.
      I loved staring at the ground in front of me …..

  3. Seriously? Clearly they can easily outrun marathoners. Even just doing the math based purely on the information you gave gives you an average speed of 8mph for a distance of 400 miles.

    1. They try but since they have use “proper gear” meaning running shoes they quit for the discomfort of the shoes. They dont see the point of using shoes and dont like shoes. Olimpic committies dont let them
      run barefoot.

  4. They are a people that hunt by running animals to death. They can run very fast with little to no shoes. But are also being pushed into a corner of mexico that very little lives in so that the mexican people can use the other land for logging. I am pretty sure, however, that they have run in multiple different events, not in the olympics as far as I know, but in just marathons of the southwest.

  5. why would you think they would possibly want to participate in our marathons? To feel a sense of achievement? to raise awareness for breast cancer?

  6. There was an article in Men’s Health titled, The Men Who Live Forever. It was done in 2010. Long article, very informative. I now run this way and use a very lightweight flexible shoe. No longer any pain.

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